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I admit that history is filled with religious wars, but let us be careful here, for it is not the multiplicity of religions which has produced these wars, but the spirit of intolerance stirring those who believed themselves to be in a dominant position.

[J’avoue que les histoires sont remplies des guerres de religion : mais, qu’on y prenne bien garde, ce n’est point la multiplicité des religions qui a produit ces guerres, c’est l’esprit d’intolérance, qui animoit celle qui se croyoit la dominante.]

Charles-Lewis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755) French political philosopher
Persian Letters [Lettres Persanes], Letter 86, Usbek to Mirza (1721) [tr. Healy (1964), Letter 85]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

I confess histories are full of religious wars: but do not let us take the thing wrong; it was not the diversity of religious that occasioned these wars; it was the untolerating spirit of that which thought she had the power in her hands.
[tr. Ozell (1760 ed.)]

I acknowledge, that history is full of religious wars: but we must take care to observe, it was not the multiplicity of religions that produced these wars, it was the intolerating spirit which animated that which thought she had the power of governing.
[tr. Floyd (1762), Letter 85]

I acknowledge that history is full of religious wars: but we must distinguish; it is not the multiplicity of religions which has produced wars; it is the intolerant spirit animating that which believed itself in the ascendant.
[tr. Davidson (1891)]

I acknowledge that history is full of religious wars ; but it is an indisputable fact that these wars have not been produced by the multiplicity of religions, but rather by the intolerance of the dominant creed.
[tr. Betts (1897)]

I admit that history is full of wars of religion; but on this point we must be very careful; it is not the multiplicity of religions that produced these wars, but the spirit of intolerance animating the religion that believed itself to be dominant.
[tr. Mauldon (2008), Letter 83]

I admit that history is full of wars of religion. But one must be careful here: these wars were not caused by a multiplicity of religions, but rather by the spirit of intolerance shown by the dominant religion's believers.
[tr. MacKenzie (2014), Letter 85]

 
Added on 26-Feb-24 | Last updated 26-Feb-24
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If we cut up beasts simply because they cannot prevent us and because we are backing our own side in the struggle for existence, it is only logical to cut up imbeciles, criminals, enemies, or capitalists for the same reasons.

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer, literary scholar, lay theologian [Clive Staples Lewis]
“Vivisection,” New England Anti-Vivisection Society pamphlet (1947)
    (Source)

Collected in God in the Dock, Part 2, ch. 9 (1970) [ed. Hooper].
 
Added on 5-Feb-24 | Last updated 5-Feb-24
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Democracy is the theory that two thieves will steal less than one, and three less than two, and four less than three, and so on ad infinitum.

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
A Little Book in C Major, ch. 5, § 25 (1916)
    (Source)

Variant:

DEMOCRACY. The theory that two thieves will steal less than one, and three less than two, and four less than three, and so on ad infinitum.
A Book of Burlesques, "The Jazz Webster" (1924)
 
Added on 31-Jan-24 | Last updated 31-Jan-24
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It is the head that governs men. A kind heart is of no use in a chess game.

[On gouverne les hommes avec la tête. On ne joue pas aux échecs avec un bon cœur.]

Nicolas Chamfort
Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) French writer, epigrammist (b. Nicolas-Sébastien Roch)
Products of Perfected Civilization [Produits de la Civilisation Perfectionée], Part 1 “Maxims and Thoughts [Maximes et Pensées],” ch. 8, ¶ 522 (1795) [tr. Merwin (1969)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

People are governed with the head; kindness of heart is little use in chess.
[tr. Mathers (1926)]

Men are governed using the head. A kind heart is useless in a chess game.
[tr. Dusinberre (1992)]

A person governs men with his head. One does not play chess with goodness of heart.
[tr. Siniscalchi (1994), ¶ 521]

 
Added on 22-Jan-24 | Last updated 22-Jan-24
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I do not think military readiness, in itself, will defeat Communism. I do not think we can consider the job finished with that. I think it buys us time to do the bigger job. We must demonstrate that it is possible to overcome poverty, misery and decay by democratic means, and that we must ourselves believe, and must show others, that our American tradition of the dignity and liberty of the individual is not a luxury for easy times but is the basic source of strength and security of a successful society.

Jane Jacobs
Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) American-Canadian journalist, author, urban theorist, activist
“No Virtue in Meek Conformity” (1952)
    (Source)

Foreword to her response to a State Department Loyalty Security Board interrogatory (1952-03-25). Reprinted in Vital Little Plans (2016).
 
Added on 15-Jan-24 | Last updated 15-Jan-24
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This is the richest and most powerful country which ever occupied the globe. The might of past empires is little compared to ours. But I do not want to be the President who built empires, or sought grandeur, or extended dominion.
I want to be the President who educated young children to the wonders of their world.
I want to be the President who helped to feed the hungry and to prepare them to be taxpayers instead of tax-eaters.
I want to be the President who helped the poor to find their own way and who protected the right of every citizen to vote in every election.
I want to be the President who helped to end hatred among his fellow men and who promoted love among the people of all races and all regions and all parties.
I want to be the President who helped to end war among the brothers of this earth.

Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) American politician, educator, US President (1963-69)
“The American Promise,” speech to a Joint Session of Congress [43:30] (1965-03-15)
    (Source)
 
Added on 12-Jan-24 | Last updated 12-Jan-24
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I should like to say that you have, through your knowledge, powers which humans have never had before. You can use these powers well or you can use them ill. You will use them well if you realize that humankind is all one family and that we can all be happy or we can all be miserable.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
Interview by Woodrow Wyatt, BBC TV (1959)

Collected in Bertrand Russell's BBC Interviews (1959) [UK] and Bertrand Russell Speaks His Mind (1960) [US].
 
Added on 10-Jan-24 | Last updated 10-Jan-24
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Laws like to Cobwebs catch small Flies,
Great ones break thro’ before your eyes.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher, aphorist
Poor Richard (1734 ed.)
    (Source)

See Swift.
 
Added on 11-Dec-23 | Last updated 11-Dec-23
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Any man with few needs appears a menace to the rich for he is always in a position to escape from them, and the tyrants see that thus they lose a slave.

[Tout homme qui a peu de besoins semble menacer les riches d’être toujours prêt à leur échapper. Les tyrans voient par là qu’ils perdent un esclave.]

Nicolas Chamfort
Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) French writer, epigrammist (b. Nicolas-Sébastien Roch)
Products of Perfected Civilization [Produits de la Civilisation Perfectionée], Part 1 “Maxims and Thoughts [Maximes et Pensées],” ch. 3, ¶ 266 (1795) [tr. Mathers (1926)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Any man whose needs are few seems to threaten the rich with the possibility of his escaping them. Tyrants are thereby faced with the prospect of losing a slave.
[tr. Merwin (1969)]

Any man who has few needs seems to threaten the rich with his readiness to escape from them. Thereby tyrants realize that they are losing a slave.
[tr. Pearson (1973)]

Every man who has few needs seems to menace the wealthy with the constant threat of escaping from them. Tyrants see in such a proposition the loss of a slave.
[tr. Siniscalchi (1994)]

Anyone whose needs are small seems threatening to the rich, because he's always ready to escape their control. This is how tyrants recognize that they're losing a slave.
[tr. Parmée (2003)]

 
Added on 4-Dec-23 | Last updated 4-Dec-23
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But the rich man is tortured by fears, wasted with griefs, aflame with greed, never free from care, always restless and uneasy, out of breath from unending struggles with his enemies. It is true enough that he increases his holdings beyond measure by going through these miseries; but at the same time, thanks to that very increase, he also multiples his bitter cares. In contrast, the individual of moderate means is satisfied with his small and limited property; he is loved by family and friends; he enjoys sweet peace with his relations, neighbors, and friends; he is devout in his piety, benevolent of mind, sound of body, moderate in his style of life, unblemished in character, and untroubled in conscience. I do not know whether anyone would be so foolish as to have any doubt about which of the two to prefer.

[Alium praediuitem cogitemus; sed diuitem timoribus anxium, maeroribus tabescentem, cupiditate flagrantem, numquam securum, semper inquietum, perpetuis inimicitiarum contentionibus anhelantem, augentem sane his miseriis patrimonium suum in inmensum modum atque illis augmentis curas quoque amarissimas aggerantem; mediocrem uero illum re familiari parua atque succincta sibi sufficientem, carissimum suis, cum cognatis uicinis amicis dulcissima pace gaudentem, pietate religiosum, benignum mente, sanum corpore, uita parcum, moribus castum, conscientia securum. Nescio utrum quisquam ita desipiat, ut audeat dubitare quem praeferat.]

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Christian church father, philosopher, saint [b. Aurelius Augustinus]
City of God [De Civitate Dei], Book 4, ch. 3 (4.3) (AD 412-416) [tr. Babcock (2012)]
    (Source)

On wealth and power as the foundation for happiness.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Let my wealthy man take with him fears, sorrows, covetousness, suspicion, disquiet, contentions, making immense additions to his estate only by adding to his heap of most bitter cares; and let my poor man take with him sufficiency with little, love of kindred, neighbours, friends, joyous peace, peaceful religion, soundness of body, sincereness of heart, abstinence of diet, chastity of carriage, and security of conscience. Where should a man find any one so sottish as would make a doubt which of these to prefer in his choice?
[tr. Healey (1610)]

But the rich man is anxious with fears, pining with discontent, burning with covetousness, never secure, always uneasy, panting from the perpetual strife of his enemies, adding to his patrimony indeed by these miseries to an immense degree, and by these additions also heaping up most bitter cares. But that other man of moderate wealth is contented with a small and compact estate, most dear to his own family, enjoying the sweetest peace with his kindred neighbors and friends, in piety religious, benignant in mind, healthy in body, in life frugal, in manners chaste, in conscience secure. I know not whether any one can be such a fool, that he dare hesitate which to prefer.
[ed. Dods (1871)]

But, our wealthy man is haunted by fear, heavy with cares, feverish with greed, never secure, always restless, breathless from endless quarrels with his enemies. By these miseries, he adds to his possessions beyond measure, but he also piles up for himself a mountain of distressing worries. The man of modest means is content with a small and compact patrimony. He is loved by his own, enjoys the sweetness of peace, in his relations with kindred, neighbors, and friends, is religious and pious, of kindly disposition, healthy in body, self-restrained, chaste in morals, and at peace with his conscience. I wonder if there is anyone so senseless as to hesitate over which of the two to prefer.
[tr. Zema/Walsh (1950)]

Let us suppose that the rich man is troubled by fears, pining with grief, burning with desire, never secure, always restless, panting in ceaseless struggles with his foes, though he does, to be sure, by dint of such suffering accumulate great additions to his estate even beyond measure, these additions adding also their quota of corrosive anxieties. Let the man of modest means, on the other hand, be self-sufficient on his trim and tiny property, beloved by his family, enjoying the most agreeable relations with his kindred, neighbours and friends, devoutly religious, kindly disposed, in good physical condition, leading a simple life, free from vice and untroubled in conscience. I don’t suppose that there is anyone so foolish as to think of doubting which one he would prefer.
[tr. Green (Loeb) (1963)]

But the rich man is tortured by fears, worn out with sadness, burnt up with ambition, never knowing serenity of repose, always panting and sweating in his struggles with opponents. It may be true that he enormously swells his patrimony, but at the cost of those discontents, while by this increase he heaps up a load of further anxiety and bitterness. The other man, the ordinary citizen, is content with his strictly limited resources. He is loved by family and friends; he enjoys the blessing of peace with his relations, neighbours, and friends; he is loyal, compassionate, and kind, healthy in body, temperate in habits, of unblemished character, and enjoys the serenity of a good conscience. I do not think anyone would be fool enough to hesitate about which he would prefer.
[tr. Bettenson (1972)]

The wealthy man, however, is troubled by fears; he pines with grief; he burns with greed. He is never secure; he is always unquiet and panting from endless confrontations with his enemies. To be sure, he adds to his patrimony in immense measure by these miseries; but alongside these additions he also heaps up the most bitter cares. By contrast, the man of moderate means is self-sufficient on his small and circumscribed estate. He is of his own family, and rejoices in the most sweet peace with kindred, neighbours and friends. He is devoutly religious, well disposed in mind, healthy in body, frugal in life, chaste in morals, untroubled in conscience. I do not know if anyone could be such a fool as to dare to doubt which to prefer.
[tr. Dyson (1998)]

 
Added on 30-Oct-23 | Last updated 29-Jan-24
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More quotes by Augustine of Hippo

And though mine arm should conquer twenty worlds,
There’s a lean fellow beats all conquerors.

Thomas Dekker
Thomas Dekker (c. 1572-1632) English dramatist and pamphleteer
Old Fortunatus, Act 1, sc. 1, l. 281 (1599)
    (Source)
 
Added on 23-Oct-23 | Last updated 23-Oct-23
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My ethical state,
Were I wealthy and great,
Is a subject you wish I’d reply on.
Now who can foresee
What his morals might be?
What would yours be if you were a lion?
 
[Saepe rogare soles, qualis sim, Prisce, futurus,
Si fiam locuples simque repente potens.
Quemquam posse putas mores narrare futuros?
Dic mihi, si fias tu leo, qualis eris?]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 12, epigram 92 (12.92) (AD 101) [tr. Nixon (1911)]
    (Source)

"To Priscus." (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Priscus! you've often ask'd me how I'd live,
Should Fate at once both wealth and honour give?
What soul his future conduct can foresee?
Tell me what sort of lion you would be?
[tr. Lewis (<1752)]

What would I do, the question you repeat,
if on a sudden I were rich and great?
Who can himself with future conduct charge?
What would you do, a lion, and at large?
[tr. Hay (1755), ep. 93]

You've often been used, my good friend, for to ask
What sort of man I might prove
Was I rich or soon great? but 'tis no easy talk,
For 'faith I can't tell you, by Jove!
For who do You think, of the men that are here
Can his manners divine, that You see?
And was you as Jonathan's bull or a bear,
Pray what sort of beast would you be?
[tr. Scott (1773)]

Thou asketh oft, how I should brook the hour,
Of wealth o'erwhelming, and resistless pow'r.
His future self what seer can prophesy?
What lion, Priscus, should'st thou make? Reply.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), 2.143]

Priscus! you often ask me what wouild be my future conduct, if I were made suddenly rich or powerful? Who can be competent to judge of his future character under such contingencies? Tell me, if you were metamorphosed into a lion, what kind of lion would you be?
[tr. Amos (1858), ep. 94]

You often ask me, Priscus, what sort of person I should be, if I were to become suddenly rich and powerful. Who can determine what would be his future conduct? Tell me, if you were to become a lion, what sort of a lion would you be?
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

You are often wont to ask me what sort of person I should be, Priscus, if I became rich and were suddenly powerful. Do you think any man can declare his character in the future? Tell me, if you became a lion, what sort of lion will you be?
[tr. Ker (1919)]

What should I be if great and rich?
That is the sort of question which
One cannot prophesy on;
Apply it to yourself: e.g.,
What sort of lion will you be
If you become a lion?
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921), "Riddles"]

You often ask me, Priscus, how I'ld use
My fortune if I stood in rich men's shoes.
'Tis hard forecasting the effect of pelf;
What sort of lion would you make, yourself?
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), ep. 687]

Your question: would my character,
And how, change if I suddenly were
Powerful and rich? Who can foresee
The sort of person he might be?
Supposing, Priscus, you became
A lion, would you be fierce or tame?
[tr. Michie (1972)]

You are wont to ask me, Priscus, what sort of person I should be if I were suddenly to become rich and powerful. Do you suppose that anybody can foretell his character? Tell me, if you were to become a lion, what would you be like?
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

Priscus, your perennial party game
Is "How would you handle wealth and power?"
Who knows? But back at you the same:
If you were a lion, would you rage or cower?
[tr. Ericsson (1995)]

If I were what I am not, rich,
Would I become a king?
If you were what you are not, brave,
Would you be anything?
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Priscus, you often ask what I'd be like
if I got wealth and power suddenly.
Can anyone foretell his future conduct?
If you were a lion, what kind would you be?
[tr. McLean (2014)]

 
Added on 20-Oct-23 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Brilliance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

Saint Patrick
Patrick (fl. AD 5th C) Romano-British Christian missionary, saint, bishop of Ireland
“The Lorica of Patrick” (attributed)
    (Source)
 
Added on 13-Sep-23 | Last updated 13-Sep-23
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For when the faculty of intellect
is joined with brute force and with evil will,
no man can win against such an alliance.

[Ché dove l’argomento de la mente
s’aggiugne al mal volere e a la possa,
nessun riparo vi può far la gente.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 31, l. 55ff (31.55) (1320) [tr. Musa (1971)]
    (Source)

Why Nature no longer allows human-like giants, while still producing whales and elephants.

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

For where the mind to bad Intention's join'd,
And with a Pow'r what's ill design'd to act,
None can himself from such a force defend.
[tr. Rogers (1782), l. 49ff]

But not the forest tribes, nor finny race,
With equal rage their native walks deface,
As he whose deadly arm by Reason's light
Directed falls, and mocks the warding hand;
Conspiring realms in vain his pow'r withstand,
In vain embattled hosts defend their right.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 9]

For when brute force
And evil will are back’d with subtlety,
Resistance none avails.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

For discourse of mind,
Wedded with power and inbred lust of wrong,
Had left nor help nor rescue for mankind.
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

For where [the instrument] of [the] mind is joined to evil will and potency, men can make no defence against it.
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

For when a reasoning and a subtle mind
Is joined, besides, to evil will and power,
Who can resist? -- for all defence must cower.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

For when the reasoning faculty combines
With evil will and with destructive pow'r,
Then there remains no more defence for man.
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

For where the argument of intellect ⁠
⁠Is added unto evil will and power,
⁠No rampart can the people make against it.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

For where the equipment of the mind is joined to illwill and to power, folk can make no rampart against it.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

For where the assistance of the intellect
Is added unto evil will and power,
'Gainst it no refuge could mankind erect.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

For where the faculty of the mind is added to evil will and to power, the human race can make no defense against it.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

For where the force of intellect is joined to evil will, and power to do such will, mankind is helpless to find resource against it.
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]

For, where the equipment and the use of reason
Are joined to ill intent and power of action,
No sort of refuge can folk make against it.
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

For where the equipment of the mind is joined to evil will and to power men can make no defence against it.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

For if with the mind's instrument unite
Power and an evil purpose both at once,
Men have no means against such force to fight.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

For where the instrument of thinking mind
Is joined to strength and malice, man’s defence
Cannot avail to meet those powers combined.
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

For where the instrument of intelligence
is added to brute power and evil will,
mankind is powerless in its own defense.
[tr. Ciardi (1954)]

For where the instrument of the mind is added to an evil will and to great power, men can make no defense against it.
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

For where the mind’s acutest reasoning
is joined to evil will and evil power,
there human beings can’t defend themselves.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

For, where the argument of reason is
Joined with an evil will and potency,
There is no possible defence for man.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

The power of the mind, along with that
Of immense strength, upon an evil will
Then people will have no defense from it.
[tr. Pinsky (1994), l. 52ff]

For where sharpness of mind is joined to evil will and power, there is no defence people can make against them.
[tr. Durling (1996)]

Where the instrument of mind is joined to ill will and power, men have no defence against it.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

For when the powers of working intellect
are wed to strength and absolute illwill,
then humans cannot find a place to hide.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

For when the power of thought
is coupled with ill will and naked force
there is no refuge from it for mankind.
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

For when the thinking powers of human brains
Are tools of malicious will and enormous strength,
Smaller creatures like men have no defense.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

For only when ill will and massive strength
Are joined with mental power does it arise
That the invincible is born.
[tr. James (2013), l. 58ff]

 
Added on 4-Aug-23 | Last updated 4-Aug-23
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More quotes by Dante Alighieri

Were a historian like Tacitus to write a history of the best of our kings, giving an exact account of all the tyrannical acts and abuses of authority, the majority of which lie buried in the profoundest obscurity, there would be few reigns which would not inspire us with the same horror as that of Tiberius.

[Si un historien, tel que Tacite, eût écrit l’histoire de nos meilleurs rois, en faisant un relevé exact de tous les actes tyranniques, de tous les abus d’autorité, dont la plupart sont ensevelis dans l’obscurité la plus profonde, il y a peu de règnes qui ne nous inspirassent la même horreur que celui de Tibère.]

Nicolas Chamfort
Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) French writer, epigrammist (b. Nicolas-Sébastien Roch)
Products of Perfected Civilization [Produits de la Civilisation Perfectionée], Part 1 “Maxims and Thoughts [Maximes et Pensées],” ch. 8, ¶ 482 (1795) [tr. Hutchinson (1902)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

If such an historian as Tacitus had written the chronicle of our nobler kings, making an exact statement of all those tyrannical actions and abuses of authority which are now for the most part buried in deep darkness, few of their reigns would inspire less horror than that of Tiberius.
[tr. Mathers (1926)]

If a historian such as Tacitus had written the histories of our best kings, with precise accounts of their tyrannical actions, and all their abuses of authority, most of which have been buried in the deepest obscurity, there are few reigns that would not arouse in us the same horror as that of Tiberius.
[tr. Merwin (1969)]

If a chronicler such as Tacitus had written the history of our best kings, preparing an exact amount of all tyrannical acts, of all the abuses of authority, of which the majority are concealed by fathomless obscurity, there would be few reigns which would [not?] inspire us with the same horror as that of Tiberius.
[tr. Pearson (1973)]

 
Added on 31-Jul-23 | Last updated 31-Jul-23
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If you are required by society to be polite — of course it’s a voluntary system policed only by public opinion — you run into having to have equal respect for people who are not as rich and powerful as you. More than that, because of the concept of noblesse oblige, you are required to treat them even better. So etiquette is the greatest friend of the powerless; without it, might makes right.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist, etiquette expert [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
“Polite Company,” interview by Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today (1998-03)
    (Source)
 
Added on 20-Jun-23 | Last updated 20-Jun-23
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More quotes by Martin, Judith

Vesuvius, once latticed with vine shade,
With grapes from which the richest wine was made —
This is where Bacchus had his favorite haunt
And Satyrs could their wildest dances vaunt.
Here Venus more than Sparta made her place.
Here Hercules brought blessings for the race.
What once in beauty and renown was cherished
In fire and ashes has with horror perished.
Were it allowed immortal gods to rue it,
They would have wished they were not doomed to do it.

[Hic est pampineis viridis modo Vesbius umbris,
Presserat hic madidos nobilis uva lacus:
Haec iuga, quam Nysae colles, plus Bacchus amavit,
Hoc nuper Satyri monte dedere choros.
Haec Veneris sedes, Lacedaemone gratior illi,
Hic locus Herculeo numine clarus erat.
Cuncta iacent flammis et tristi mersa favilla:
Nec superi vellent hoc licuisse sibi.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 4, epigram 44 (4.44) (AD 89) [tr. Wills (2007)]
    (Source)

On the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79, which destroyed the towns of Pompeii (whose patron was Venus) and Herculaneum (supposedly founded by Hercules), as well as much of the surrounding countryside.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Vesuvius shaded once with greenest vines,
Where pressed grapes did yield the noblest wines.
Which hills far more they say Bacchus lov'd,
Where Satyrs once in mirthfull dances mov'd,
Where Venus dwelt, and better lov'd the place
Than Sparta; where Alcides Temple was,
Is now burnt downe, rak'd up in ashes sad.
The gods are griev'd that such great power they had.
[tr. May (1629)]

Vesuvio, cover'd with the fruitful vine,
Here flourish'd once, and ran with floods of wine.
here Bacchus oft to the cool shades retir'd,
And his own native Nisa less admir'd:
Oft to the mountain's airy tops advanc'd,
The frisking Satyrs on the summits danc'd.
Alcides here, here Venus grac'd the shore,
Nor lov'd her fav'rite Lacedæmon more!
Now piles of ashes , spreading all around
In undistinguish'd heaps, deform the ground.
The gods themselves the ruin'd seats bemoan;
And blame the mischiefs that themselves have done.
[tr. Addison (1705)]

Vesuvius this! So lately crown'd with vines!
Whence in full currents flowed the generous wines!
By Bacchus more than Nysa's hills belov'd!
Upon whose top in dance the satyrs mov'd!
The seat of Venus, more than Sparta dear!
Proud of her name Heraclea once was here!
All drown'd in flames! with ashes cover'd o'er!
the gods, who caus'd the ill, their power deplore.
[tr. Hay (1755)]

Here Vesuvius late with rich festoons was green:
Here noblest clusters gusht a lake serene.
These beyond Nysa's hights the god advanc'd:
On this glad moutnain gamesom satyrs danc'd.
This, more than Sparta, joy'd the laughing dame:
These summits prouden'd by Alcides' name.
Smoke, embers, flames, have laid the glories low:
The pow'rs regret the very pow'r they glow.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 4, part 1, ep. 33]

Yonder is Vesuvius, lately verdant with the shadowy vines; there a noble grape under pressure yielded copious lakes of wine; that hill Bacchus preferred to the hills of Nysa; there lately the Satyrs led their dances; there Venus had a residence more agreeable to her than Lacedæmon; that spot was made illustrious by the name of Hercules. Now, every thing is laid low by flames, and is buried under the sad ashes. Surely the Gods must regret that they possessed so much power for mischief.
[tr. Amos (1858), ch. 7, ep. 167]

This is Vesuvius, lately green with umbrageous vines; here the noble grape had pressed the dripping coolers. These are the heights which Bacchus loved more than the hills of Nysa; on this mountain the satyrs recently danced. This was the abode of Venus, more grateful to her than Lacedaemon; this was the place renowned by the divinity of Hercules. All now lies buried in flames and sad ashes. Even the gods would have wished not to have had the power to cause such a catastrophe.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

This is Vesbius, green yesterday with viny shades; here had the noble grape loaded the dripping vats; these ridges Bacchus loved more than the hills of Nysa; on this mount of late the Satyrs set afoot their dances; this was the haunt of Venus, more pleasant to her than Lacedaemon; this spot was made glorious by the name of Hercules. All lies drowned in fire and melancholy ash; even the High Gods could have wished this had not been permitted them.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

Fair were thy shading vines and rich to fill
The overflowing wine-press year by year,
Bacchus hath loved thee more than Nysa’s hill,
Vesuvius, for his fauns held revel here;
Sweet Venus held no other haunt so dear,
Alcides made thee glorious with his name,
Flame-swept art thou, a waste of ashes drear,
And heaven remorseful hides its face for shame.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

Vesuvius here was green with mantling vine,
Here brimming vats o'erflowed with noble wine.
These hills to jocund Bacchus were more dear
Than Nysa, and the Satyrs reveled here.
This blest retreat could Cytherea please,
This owned the fame of godlike Hercules;
Now dismal ashes all and scorching flame.
Such dire caprice might move a god to shame.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), ep. 84]

Behold Vesuvius, lately green
With vineyard-covered slopes!
Here did the noble grapevine yield
Beyond one's wildest hopes!

Here are the ridges Bacchus loves
More than those of his youth.
And here till late his Satyrs danced
There merry dance uncouth.

Here stood Pompeii, dearer far
To Aphrodite than
The Lacedaemonian island where
Her early life began.

And here stood Herculaneum,
Founded by Hercules
Where here he paused to rest the oxen
Of Geryones.

All this, by fire and flame consumed,
Lies sunk, so sad a sight
The very gods might wish they had
Not had it in their might.
[tr. Marcellino (1968)]

Only a short while ago old smoky Vesuvius
bore a green burden of vineyards on his shoulders
and the vats below were clogged with gorgeous grapes.
This was a place whose forests high in the air meant more to Bacchus than his Nysean hills.
And only a short while ago Satyrs led their troupes down this same mountainside. Here were Venus’ haunts
more appealing to her than Sparta.
And this whole landscape knew the sound of Hercules’ roving name. He too made it holy.
And now, there it lies submerged in ashes,
crumpled, shorn by the flames,
so curiously at odds
with the will of the gods
[tr. Bovie (1970)]

Hear the testament of death:
yesterday beneath Vesuvius' side
the grape ripened in green shade,
the dripping vats with their viny tide
squatted on hill turf: Bacchus
loved this land more than fertile Nysa:
here the satyrs ran, this was Venus' home,
sweeter to her than Lacedaemon
or the rocks of foam-framed Cyprus.
One city now in ashes the great name
of Hercules once blessed, one other
to the salty sea was manacled.
All is cold silver, all fused with death
murdered by the fire of Heaven. Even
the Gods repent this faculty
that power of death which may not be recalled.
[tr. Porter (1972)]

This is Vesuvius, yesterday green with shady vines.
Here notable grapes weighted down the wine-steeped vats.
These the heights that Bacchus loved more than Nysa's hills.
On this mountain the Satyrs began their dances lately.
This was Venus' seat, more pleasing to her than Sparta.
This place was made renowned by Hercules' godhead.
All lies sunk in flames and bleak ash. Even the high gods
Could wish that this had not been allowed to them.
[tr. Shepherd (1987)]

This is Vesuvius, but lately green with shade of vines. Here the noble grape loaded the vats to overflowing. These slopes were more dear to Bacchus than Nysa's hills, on this mountain not long ago Satyrs held their dances. This was Venus' dwelling, more pleasing to her than Lacedaemon, this spot the name of Hercules made famous. All lies sunk in flames and drear ashes. The High Ones themselves would rather this had not been in their power.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

Here is Vesuvius, viney and shade-green only yesterday;
here, on these slopes Bacchus loved more than Nysa’s hills,
the noble grapes outgave themselves time and again;
on this mountain the Satyrs leaped and danced,
for this was Venus’s adopted home, dearer to her than Sparta,
and here a proud town bore the name of Hercules.
It’s all drowned now by fire, sunk to drab ash. What won’t
the high gods permit themselves, they could well ask.
[tr. Matthews (1995)]

This is Vesuvius, green just now with vines;
here fine grapes loaded brimming vats. These heights
were loved by Bacchus more than Nysa's slopes;
on this mount, satyrs lately danced their rites.
this home of Venus pleased her more than Sparta;
this spot the name of Hercules made proud.
All lie engulfed in flames and dismal ashes:
the gods themselves regret it was allowed.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

 
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He shall come to know
Dionysus, son of Zeus, consummate god,
most terrible, and yet most gentle, to mankind.

[γνώσεται δὲ τὸν Διὸς
Διόνυσον, ὃς πέφυκεν ἐν τέλει θεός,
δεινότατος, ἀνθρώποισι δ᾽ ἠπιώτατος.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bacchæ [Βάκχαι], l. 859ff [Dionysus/Διόνυσος] (405 BC) [tr. Arrowsmith (1960)]
    (Source)

Speaking of King Pentheus. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Thus he shall know dread Bacchus, son of Jove,
A god most terrible when he asserts
His slighted power: but gracious to mankind.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

He will recognize the son of Zeus, Dionysus, who is in fact a god, the most terrible and yet most mild to men.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]

Know he must
Dionysus, son of Jove, among the gods
Mightiest, yet mildest to the sons of men.
[tr. Milman (1865)]

There belike to tell
That Dionysus, son to Zeus, is god,
Most terrible, most gracious unto men.
[tr. Rogers (1872), l. 820ff]

So shall he recognize Dionysus, the son of Zeus, who proves himself at last a god most terrible, for all his gentleness to man.
[tr. Coleridge (1891)]

And he shall know Zeus' son
Dionysus, who hath risen at last a God
Most terrible, yet kindest unto men.
[tr. Way (1898)]

So shall he learn and mark
God's true Son, Dionyse, in fulness God,
Most fearful, yet to man most soft of mood.
[tr. Murray (1902)]

And he shall recognize the son of Zeus,
Dionysus, as a god in perfect essence:
a terrible one, but to men most gentle.
[tr. Kirk (1970)]

And he shall know the son of Zeus, Dionysus; who, those most gentle to mankind, can prove a god of terror irresistible.
[tr. Vellacott (1973)]

Consummate god, most terrible, most gentle
To mankind.
[tr. Soyinka (1973), Bacchante speaking]

He shall know Zeus’ son
Dionysos, that he is in his fullness a god
most dreadful, and to men most mild.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]

So shall Pentheus come to know Dionysus, son of Zeus,
a God sprung from nature, like nature most cruel,
and, yet, most gentle to mankind.
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]

And he'll know
Zeus-born Dionysos is a true divinity,
Most terrifying to men, and most kind.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]

He will come to know Dionysus, the son of Zeus,
that he is, in the ritual of initiation, a god most terrifying,
but for mankind a god most gentle.
[tr. Esposito (1998)]

Then he will know the son of Zeus,
Dionysus, and realize that he was born a god, bringing
terrors for initiation, and to the people, gentle grace.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]

And he will know that Dionysos, son
Of Zeus, was born a god in full, and is
Most terrible to mortals and most gentle.
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000)]

He will learn that Dionysus is in the full sense a god, a god most dreadful to morals -- but also most gentle!
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]

He'll learn the nature of this son of Zeus:
The sweetest and most fearsome of the gods.
[tr. Teevan (2002)]

Only then will he learn that the son of Zeus, Dionysos, is a god of peace for the good folk but he is also a fearsome god who those who don’t respect him.
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]

He will recognize Zeus' son Dionysus, born in ritual,
The most terrible god -- and kindest to humans.
[tr. Valerie (2005)]

He'll come to acknowledge
Dionysus, son of Zeus, born in full divinity,
most fearful, yet most kind to human beings.
[tr. Johnston (2008)]

And he shall finally know Dionysus, son of Zeus,
a god both terrible and gentle to the world of man.
[tr. Robertson (2014)]

He will know Dionysus. He will know the son of Zeus to be true-god-born, to be the greatest horror to mortal kind.
And the greatest helper.
[tr. Pauly (2019)]

He shall learn that Dionysus is the son of Zeuis, a god with the power of a god, a god most fearful and most gentle.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]

And he will come to know the son of Zeus,
Dionysus, the one who is by his own nature a god in the end [telos],
the one who is most terrifying [deinos], but, for humans, also most gentle [ēpios ].
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]

 
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The First Amendment is truly the heart of the Bill of Rights. The Framers balanced its freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition against the needs of a powerful central government, and decided that in those freedoms lies this nation’s only true security. They were not afraid for men to be free. We should not be.

Hugo Black (1886-1971) American politician and jurist, US Supreme Court Justice (1937-71)
James Madison Lecture, NYU School of Law (1960-02-17)
    (Source)

The inaugural Madison lecture. Reprinted as "The Bill of Rights," NYU Law Review, Vol. 35 (1960-04).
 
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There is no impersonal reason for regarding the interests of human beings as more important than those of animals. We can destroy animals more easily than they can destroy us; that is the only solid basis of our claim to superiority. We value art and science and literature, because these are things in which we excel. But whales might value spouting, and donkeys might maintain that a good bray is more exquisite than the music of Bach. We cannot prove them wrong except by the exercise of arbitrary power. All ethical systems, in the last analysis, depend upon weapons of war.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
“If animals could talk,” New York American (1932-09-14)
    (Source)
 
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Unfortunately, our own colonial history also provided ample reasons for people to be afraid to vest too much power in the national government. There had been bills of attainder here; women had been convicted and sentenced to death as “witches”; Quakers, Baptists, and various Protestant sects had been persecuted from time to time. Roger Williams left Massachusetts to breathe the free air of new Rhode Island. Catholics were barred from holding office in many places. Test oaths were required in some of the colonies to bar any but “Christians” from holding office. In New England Quakers suffered death for their faith. Baptists were sent to jail in Virginia for preaching, which caused Madison, while a very young man, to deplore what he called that “diabolical hell-conceived principle of persecution.”

Hugo Black (1886-1971) American politician and jurist, US Supreme Court Justice (1937-71)
James Madison Lecture, NYU School of Law (1960-02-17)
    (Source)

The inaugural Madison lecture. Reprinted as "The Bill of Rights," NYU Law Review, Vol. 35 (Apr 1960). The Madison reference is in a letter to William Bradford (24 Jan 1774).
 
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But if my forces
are not enough, I am hardly the one to relent,
I’ll plead for the help I need, wherever it may be —
If I cannot sway the heavens, I’ll wake the powers of hell!

[Quod si mea numina non sunt
magna satis, dubitem haud equidem implorare quod usquam est:
flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.]

Virgil the Poet
Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 7, l. 310ff (7.310-312) [Juno] (29-19 BC) [tr. Fagles (2006)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

But if my own power not sufficient be,
Undaunted, aydes I'le seek where ere they dwell;
Will heaven not grant my sute, I'le raise up hell.
[tr. Ogilby (1649)]

If native pow'r prevail not, shall I doubt
To seek for needful succor from without?
If Jove and Heav'n my just desires deny,
Hell shall the pow'r of Heav'n and Jove supply.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

But if my own divinity is not powerful enough, surely I need not hesitate to implore whatever deity any where subsists: if I cannot move the powers above, I will solicit those of hell.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

If strength like mine be yet too weak,
I care not whose the aid I seek:
What choice 'twixt under and above?
If Heaven be firm, the shades shall move.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

But if not enough my power,
I shall not pause to ask what aid I may.
And if I cannot bend the gods above,
Then Acheron I'll move.
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 388ff]

If my deity is not great enough, I will not assuredly falter to seek succour where it may be; if the powers of heaven are inflexible, I will stir up Acheron.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

But if of no avail
My godhead be, I will not spare to pray what is of might,
Since Heaven I move not, needs must I let loose the Nether Night.
[tr. Morris (1900), l. 310ff]

If too weak
Myself, some other godhead will I try,
And Hell shall hear, if Heaven its aid deny.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 42, l. 372ff]

If so weak
my own prerogative of godhead be,
let me seek strength in war, come whence it will!
If Heaven I may not move, on Hell I call.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

But if my powers be not strong enough, surely I need not be slow to seek succour wherever it may be; if Heaven I can not bend, then Hell I will arouse!
[tr. Fairclough (1918)]

So, if my power
Falls short of greatness, I must try another’s,
Seek aid where I can find it. If I cannot
Bend Heaven, I can raise Hell.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

Well, if my powers are not great enough,
I shall not hesitate -- that's sure -- to ask help wherever
Help may be found. If the gods above are no use to me, then I'll
Move all hell.
[tr. Day-Lewis (1952)]

If my power
is not enough, I shall not hesitate
to plead for more, from anywhere; if I
cannot bend High Ones, then I shall move hell.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 410ff]

Well, if my powers fall short,
I need not falter over asking help
Wherever help may lie. If I can sway
No heavenly hearts I'll rouse the world below.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 423ff]

But if my own resources as a goddess are not enough, I am not the one to hesitate. I shall appeal to whatever powers there are. If I cannot prevail upon the gods above, I shall move hell.
[tr. West (1990)]

But if my divine strength is not
enough, I won’t hesitate to seek help wherever it might be:
if I cannot sway the gods, I’ll stir the Acheron.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

But if my powers
Are not great enough, why should I hesitate
To seek help from any source whatever?
If I cannot sway Heaven, I will awaken Hell!
[tr. Lombardo (2005)]

If I cannot bend the gods, I will move Acheron.
[tr. @sentantiq (2012)]

If my powers aren't enough, why not stoop to begging anyone? If I can't move the gods above, then I'll move Acheron.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

If I cannot bend Heaven, I shall move Hell.
[Bartlett's]

 
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“Educate women like men,” says Rousseau, “and the more they resemble our sex the less power will they have over us.” This is the very point I aim at. I do not wish them to have power over men; but over themselves.

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) English social philosopher, feminist, writer
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, ch. 4 (1792)
    (Source)

Usually elided to "I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves."
 
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Away with empire, and oppressive laws;
None but the fool can wish for regal power,
That he may proudly lord it o’er his equals.

[οὔτ᾽ εἰκὸς ἄρχειν οὔτ᾽ ἐχρὴν ἄνευ νόμου
τύραννον εἶναι” μωρία δὲ καὶ ϑέλειν
ὃς τῶν ὁμοίων βούλεται χρατεῖν μόνος.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Antigone [Ἀντιγόνη], frag. 172 (TGF, Kannicht) (c. 420-406 BC) [tr. Wodhall (1809)]
    (Source)

Barnes frag. 11, Musgrave frag. 5. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translation:


It is neither reasonable to rule, nor ought there to be a king [law].
It is folly for a man even to want [...]
who wishes to hold sole power over his peers.
[Source]

 
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When one considers what adults in their relationships can do to each other, it is frightening to think of what an adult can do to a child.

No picture available
Marcelene Cox (1900-1998) American writer, columnist, aphorist
“Ask Any Woman” column, Ladies’ Home Journal (1946-03)
    (Source)
 
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Let the rigour of a master over his slaves be applied by those who hold men under the empire of oppression; but they who rule by the principle of fear in a free state, practice a system of unparalleled madness. […] Let us therefore embrace that mode of conduct which has the most extensive influence, which contributes most, not only to the safety, but to the increase of wealth and power, and which rests, not upon fear, but upon the continuation of kind affections. — This is the method by which not only in private, but in public, we shall most easily obtain what we desire.

[Sed iis, qui vi oppresses imperio coercent, sit sane adhibenda saevitia, ut eris in famulos, si aliter teneri non possunt; qui vero in libera civitate ita se instruunt, ut metuantur, iis nihil potest esse dementius. […] Quod igitur latissime patet neque ad incolumitatem solum, sed etiam ad opes et potentiam valet plurimum, id amplectamur, ut metus absit, caritas retineatur. Ita facillime, quae volemus, et privatis in rebus et in re publica consequemur.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 2, ch. 7 (2.7) / sec. 24 (44 BC) [tr. McCartney (1798)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

It is well enough in those who by open force have reduced any nation, and accordingly rule it with a high hand, if they do sometimes use rigour and severity, like masters towards their slaves when there is no other way of holding them in subjection: but for those who are magistrates in a free city, to endeavour to make themselves feared by the people, is one of the maddest and most desperate attempts on the face of the earth. [...] Let us therefore embrace and adhere to that method which is of the most universal influence, and serves not only to secure us what we have, but moreover to enlarge our power and authority; that is, in short, let us rather endeavour to be loved than feared, which is certainly the best way to make us successful, as well in our private as our public business.
[tr. Cockman (1699)]

But the truth is, cruelty must be employed by those who keep others in subjection by force; as by a master to his slaves, if they cannot otherwise be managed. But of all madmen, they are the maddest who, in a free state so conduct themselves as to be feared. [...] We ought therefore to follow this most obvious principle, that dread should be removed and affection reconciled, which has the greatest influence not only on our security but also on our interest and power; and thus we shall most easily attain to the object of our wishes, both in private and political affairs.
[tr. Edmonds (1865)]

Those who hold under their command subjects forcibly kept down must indeed resort to severity, as masters toward their slaves when they cannot otherwise be restrained. But nothing can be more mad than the policy of those who in a free state conduct themselves in such a way as to be feared. [...] Let us then embrace the policy which has the widest scope, and is most conducive, not to safety alone, but to affluence and power, namely, that by which fear may be suppressed, love retained. Thus shall we most easily obtain what we desire both in private and in public life.
[tr. Peabody (1883)]

Let tyrants exercise cruelty, as a master does towards his slaves when he cannot control them by other means: but for a Citizen of a free State to equip himself with the weapons of intimidation is the height of madness. [...] Let us then put away fear and cleave to love; love appeals to every heart, it is the surest means of gaining safety, influence and power; in a word, it is the key to success both in private and in public life.
[tr. Gardiner (1899)]

But those who keep subjects in check by force would of course have to employ severity -- masters, for example, toward their servants, when these cannot be held in control in any other way. But those who in a free state deliberately put themselves in a position to be feared are the maddest of the mad. [...] Let us, then, embrace this policy, which appeals to every heart and is the strongest support not only of security but also of influence and power -- namely, to banish fear and cleave to love. And thus we shall most easily secure success both in private and in public life.
[tr. Miller (1913)]

Men who dominate and command other men, whom they have subjugated by force, have to apply some harshness, just as the owner uses harshness toward his slaves if he cannot control them any other way. But it is completely senseless for men in a free city act in such a way that it causes others to live in fear: no one could be more insane. [...] So let us embrace a rule that applies widely and that is extremely effective not only maintaining safety but also in acquiring wealth and power, namely, that there should be no fear, that one should hold affection dear. This is the easiest way for ust to attain what we want both in private affairs and in the government.
[tr. Edinger (1974)]

 
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When citizens are relatively equal, politics has tended to be fairly democratic. When a few individuals hold enormous amounts of wealth, democracy suffers. The reason for this pattern is simple. Through campaign contributions, lobbying, influence over public discourse, and other means, wealth can be translated into political power. When wealth is highly concentrated — that is, when a few individuals have enormous amounts of money — political power tends to be highly concentrated, too. The wealthy few tend to rule. Average citizens lose political power. Democracy declines.

Benjamin Page
Benjamin I. Page (b. 1940) American political scientist, academic, researcher
Democracy in America?: What Has Gone Wrong and What We Can Do About It, Part 1, ch. 2 (2017) [with Martin Gilens]
    (Source)
 
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Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race. All through history mankind has been bullied by scum. Those who lord it over their fellows and toss commands in every direction and would boss the grass in the meadows about which way to bend in the wind are the most depraved kind of prostitutes. They will submit to any indignity, perform any vile act, do anything to achieve power. The worst off-sloughings of the planet are the ingredients of sovereignty. Every government is a parliament of whores.

The trouble is, in a democracy, the whores are us.

P. J. O'Rourke (b. 1947) American humorist, editor
Parliament of Whores, “At Home in the Parliament of Whores” (1991)
    (Source)

Concluding words of the book.
 
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Most anarchists believe the coming change can only come through a revolution, because the possessing class will not allow a peaceful change to take place; still we are willing to work for peace at any price, except at the price of liberty.

Lucy Parsons
Lucy Parsons (1851-1942) American labor organizer, anarchist, orator [a.k.a. Lucy Gonzalez]
“The Principles of Anarchism,” lecture (1905)
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Governments never lead; they follow progress. When the prison, stake or scaffold can no longer silence the voice of the protesting minority, progress moves on a step, but not until then.

Lucy Parsons
Lucy Parsons (1851-1942) American labor organizer, anarchist, orator [a.k.a. Lucy Gonzalez]
“The Principles of Anarchism,” lecture (1905)
    (Source)
 
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I felt it myself. The glitter of nuclear weapons. It is irresistible if you come to them as a scientist. To feel it’s there in your hands, to release this energy that fuels the stars, to let it do your bidding. To perform these miracles, to lift a million tons of rock into the sky. It is something that gives people an illusion of illimitable power, and it is, in some ways, responsible for all our troubles — this, what you might call technical arrogance, that overcomes people when they see what they can do with their minds.

Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson (1923-2020) English-American theoretical physicist, mathematician, futurist
In Jon Else, dir., The Day After Trinity: J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Atomic Bomb, Part 2 (1981)
    (Source)

Film written by David Peoples, Janet Peoples, and Jon Else.
 
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‘But if you’ll pardon my speaking out, I think my master was right. I wish you’d take his Ring. You’d put things to rights. You’d stop them digging up the Gaffer and turning him adrift. You’d make some folk pay for their dirty work.’

‘I would,’ she said. ‘That is how it would begin. But it would not stop with that, alas!’

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 1: The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, ch. 7 “The Mirror of Galadriel” [Sam and Galadriel] (1954)
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The task is to throw all those things on the exact same burn pile as the collected works of all the apologists for conservatism, and start fresh. The core proposition of anti-conservatism requires no supplementation and no exegesis. It is as sufficient as it is necessary. What you see is what you get:

The law cannot protect anyone unless it binds everyone; and it cannot bind anyone unless it protects everyone.

No picture available
Frank Wilhoit (contemp.) American composer and software architect
Crookedtimber.org, “The Travesty of Liberalism,” Comment #26 (22 Mar 2018)
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Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit:

There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.

There is nothing more or else to it, and there never has been, in any place or time.

No picture available
Frank Wilhoit (contemp.) American composer and software architect
Crookedtimber.org, “The Travesty of Liberalism,” Comment #26 (22 Mar 2018)
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The avalanche of the Alps, which carries destruction in its gathering force, and whelms whole districts in its frozen shroud, acquired its tremendous force by UNION — the vast mass of cold destruction was accumulated flake by flake. Compare this figure yourselves — ye are the snow-flakes; gather then instruction from nature, single flakes form the avalanche, single grains of sand form mountains, single drops form the mighty ocean, and supply its resistless power!

(Other Authors and Sources)
Anonymous (“Jack Steadfast”), “To the Wealth Producers of Birmingham and of the Midland Counties,” Birmingham Journal (13 May 1837)
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What has ever been granted to the countless millions of workers of Earth without a fight? Czar Nicholas has discovered that he is not all Russia. Will he “let the voice of the people be heard”? Was it argument or force that changed Czar Nicholas’s mind? Well , the Russian people have gotten the thin edge of the wedge in; let them keep striking hard, they will split the throne after a while.

Lucy Parsons
Lucy Parsons (1851-1942) American labor organizer, anarchist, orator [a.k.a. Lucy Gonzalez]
“On Revolution in Russia and Chinese Use of the Boycott,” The Liberator (3 Sep 1905)
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Pride is not a wise counselor. People who believe themselves to be the incarnation of good have a distorted view of the world. The absence of any obstacle to the deployment of strength is dangerous for the strong themselves: passion takes precedence over reason. “No power without limit can be legitimate,” as Montesquieu wrote long ago. Political wisdom does not consist in seeking only immediate victory, nor does it require systematic preference of “us” over “them.”

Tzvetan Todorov
Tzvetan Todorov (1939-2017) Bulgarian-French historian, philosopher, literary critic, sociologist
Hope and Memory: Reflections on the Twentieth Century, Preface to the English edition (2003)
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Anger is a passion, so it makes people feel alive and makes them feel they matter and are in charge of their lives. So people often need to renew their anger a long time after the cause of it has died, because it is a protection against helplessness and emptiness just like howling in the night. And it makes them feel less vulnerable for a little while.

Merle Shain (1935-1989) Canadian journalist and author
Hearts That We Broke Long Ago, ch. 5 (1983)
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The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall; but in charity there is no excess, neither can angel or man come in danger by it.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
“Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature,” Essays, No. 13 (1625)
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Often trimmed down to "In charity there is no excess."
 
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“You are wise and powerful. Will you not take the Ring?”

“No!” cried Gandalf, springing to his feet. “With that power I should have power too great and terrible. And over me the Ring would gain a power still greater and more deadly.” His eyes flashed and his face was lit as by a fire within. “Do not tempt me! For I do not wish to become like the Dark Lord himself. Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity for weakness and the desire of strength to do good. Do not tempt me! I dare not take it, not even to keep it safe, unused. The wish to wield it would be too great for my strength. I shall have such need of it. Great perils lie before me.”

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 1: The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, ch. 2 “The Shadow of the Past” (1954)
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The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.

Voltaire (1694-1778) French writer [pseud. of Francois-Marie Arouet]
(Attributed)
 
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Then the tyrant dies, and his rule is over; the martyr dies, and his rule begins.

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish philosopher, theologian
Select Entries from Journals and Papers on On My Work as an Author and The Point of View for My Work as an Author, Paper IX B 63:13 373 [tr. Hong/Hong]
 
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To suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles, on the supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency, will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
“Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom” (18 Jun 1779; enacted 16 Jan 1786)
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Power is like money. You can usually get it if you’re competent and it’s the only thing you want in life.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
Trumps of Doom, ch. 3 [Merlin] (1985)
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The garb of religion is the best cloak for power.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On the Clerical Character,” Conclusion (7 Feb 1818)
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All things being equal, those who have more power are liable to sin more; no theorem in geometry is more certain than this.

[Caeteris paribus, on trouvera tousjours que ceux qui ont plus de puissance sont sujets à pécher davantage; et il n’y a point de théorème de géométrie qui soit plus asseuré que cette proposition.]

Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) German mathematician, philosopher, diplomat, polymath
Letter to Ernst, Landgrave of Hessen-Rheinfels (9 Jul 1688) [tr. Fasnacht (1952)]
    (Source)

Quoted by John Dalberg, Lord Acton (and thus often attributed to him).

Acton's quotation was in his Inaugural Lecture on History, Cambridge (11 Jun 1895). In the lecture, after mentioning the academic precept "never be surprised by the crumbling of an idol or the disclosure of a skeleton; judge talent at its best and character at its worst; suspect power more than vice," he footnotes this Leibniz quotation (in its source French, with the Latin introduction). This was in turn translated into English in G. E. Fasnacht, Acton's Political Philosophy, ch. 6 (1952), after which it became erroneously cited by others to Acton.

The source letter (in which Leibniz is discussing the Jesuits) is collected in Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Sämtliche Schriften und Briefe, Series 2, vol. 2, p. 278 (2009), reprinted in Stephen Voss, The Leibniz Arnauld Correspondence (2016) (the Source noted), which offers this alternate translation:

Other things being equal, one will always find that those who have more power are subject to sin more. And there is no theorem of Geometry more sure than this proposition.
[tr. Voss (2016)]

 
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A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
(Misattributed)

Frequently misattributed to J. R. R. Tolkien, most likely because it was used as copy on the Tom Jung's classic movie poster for Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings film (1978). The origin of the phrase seems to be from Nathaniel Hawthorne, Fanshawe (1828): "If his inmost heart could have been laid open, there would have been discovered that dream of undying fame, which, dream as it is, is more powerful than a thousand realities."

More discussion on this quotation here: Not a Tolkien quote: "A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities." TThnsdwohatdw, Part 3. - thetolkienist.com.
 
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There are many people who can exercise virtue in their own affairs, but are unable to do so in their relations with others. This is why the aphorism of Bias, “Office will reveal the man”, seems a good one, since an official is, by virtue of his position, engaged with other people and the community at large.

[πολλοὶ γὰρ ἐν μὲν τοῖς οἰκείοις τῇ ἀρετῇ δύνανται χρῆσθαι, ἐν δὲ τοῖς πρὸς ἕτερον ἀδυνατοῦσιν. καὶ διὰ τοῦτο εὖ δοκεῖ ἔχειν τὸ τοῦ Βίαντος, ὅτι ἀρχὴ ἄνδρα δείξει: πρὸς ἕτερον γὰρ καὶ ἐν κοινωνίᾳ ἤδη ὁ ἄρχων.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics [Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια], Book 5, ch. 1 (5.1.15-16) / 1129b.33ff (c. 325 BC) [tr. Crisp (2000)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

I mean, there are many who can practise virtue in the regulation of their own personal conduct who are wholly unable to do it in transactions with their neighbour. And for this reason that saying of Bias is thought to be a good one, “Rule will show what a man is;” for he who bears Rule is necessarily in contact with others, i.e., in a community.
[tr. Chase (1847), ch. 2]

For many there be who can make good use of their virtue in their own matters, but not towards their fellow-man. And, hence, Bias would seem to have said well, saying that, "It is authority that shows the man." For whosoever is in authority stands ipso facto in relation to his fellow-man, in that he is a fellow-member of the body politic.
[tr. Williams (1869)]

For there are many people who are capable of exhibiting virtue at home, but incapable of exhibiting it in relation to their neighbors. Accordingly there seems to be good sense in saying of Bias that "office will reveal a man," for one who is in office is at once brought into relation and association with others.
[tr. Welldon (1892)]

For there are many who can be virtuous enough at home, but fail in dealing with their neighbours. This is the reason why people commend the saying of Bias, “Office will show the man;” for he that is in office ipso facto stands in relation to others, and has dealings with them.
[tr. Peters (1893)]

For many men can exercise virtue in their own affairs, but not in their relations to their neighbour. This is why the saying of Bias is thought to be true, that "rule will show the man"; for a ruler is necessarily in relation to other men and a member of a society.
[tr. Ross (1908)]

For there are many who can practise virtue in their own private affairs but cannot do so in their relations with another. This is why we approve the saying of Bias, "Office will show a man"; for in office one is brought into relation with others and becomes a member of a community.
[tr. Rackham (1934)]

For many people are able to use their virtue in what properly belongs to themselves, but unable to do so in issues relating to another person. And this is why Bias' saying, "ruling office shows forth the man," seems good, since a ruler is automatically in relation to another person and in a community with him.
[tr. Reeve (1948)]

I say this because there are plenty of people who can behave uprightly in their own affairs, but are incapable of doing so in relation to somebody else. That is why Bias's saying "Office will reveal the man" is felt to be valid; because an official is eo ipso in relation to, and associated with, somebody else.
[tr. Thomson/Tredennick (1976)]

For many people are able to use virtue in dealing with the members of their household, but in their affairs together regarding another, they are unable to do so. And on this account, the saying of Bias seems good, that "office will show the man." For he who rules is already in relation to another and within the community.
[tr. Bartlett/Collins (2011)]

 
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My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs). […] The most improper job of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
Letter to Christopher Tolkien (1943-11-29)
    (Source)

Letter 52 in Humphrey Carpenter, ed., The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (1981).
 
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Therefore, Christian men, be sure,
wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor,
shall yourselves find blessing.

John Mason Neale
John Mason Neale (1818-1866) English cleric, scholar, hymnist
“Good King Wenceslas” (1853)
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The House will forgive me for quoting five democratic questions that I have developed during my life. If one meets a powerful person — Rupert Murdoch, perhaps, or Joe Stalin or Hitler — one can ask five questions: what power do you have; where did you get it; in whose interests do you exercise it; to whom are you accountable; and, how can we get rid of you? Anyone who cannot answer the last of those questions does not live in a democratic system.

Tony Benn
Tony Benn (1925-2014) British politician, writer, diarist
Speech, House of Commons (16 Nov 1998)
    (Source)

Benn used this set of questions -- often with different examples -- on multiple occasions.
 
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Folly is a child of power. We all know, from unending repetitions of Lord Acton’s dictum, that power corrupts. We are less less aware that it breeds folly: that the power to command frequently causes failure to think: that the responsibility of power often fades as its exercise augments.

Barbara W. Tuchman (1912-1989) American historian and author
The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam, ch. 1 (1984)
    (Source)

See Acton.
 
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People at the top do not want to share their power. They’ve always got some marvellous reason: I’m following my religion; I’m following the laws of economics. Even Stalin: I’m representing the vanguard of the working class, so please don’t cause trouble. That is the battle that every generation has, and yet we mustn’t be pessimistic about it.

Tony Benn
Tony Benn (1925-2014) British politician, writer, diarist
“Hope Is the Key,” Interview, Share International (Jan 2003)
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Race is the child of racism, not the father.

Coates - Race is the child of racism not the father - wist.info quote

Ta-Nehisi Coates (b. 1975) American writer, journalist, educator
Between the World and Me, ch. 1 (2015)
    (Source)

Coates continues:

And the process of naming "the people" has never been a matter of genealogy and physiognomy so much as one of hierarchy. Difference in hue and hair is old. But the belief in the preeminence of hue and hair, the notion that these factors can correctly organize a society and that they signify deeper attributes, which are indelible -- this is the new idea at the heart of these new people who have been brought up hopelessly, tragically, deceitfully, to believe that they are white.
 
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Never be deceived that the rich will allow you to vote away their wealth.

Lucy Parsons
Lucy Parsons (1851-1942) American labor organizer, anarchist, orator [a.k.a. Lucy Gonzalez]
Speech, Founding Convention of the Industrial Workers of the World (27 Jun 1905)
    (Source)

Reprinted in Freedom, Equality and Solidarity: Writings & Speeches, 1878-1937.
 
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